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Wednesday, December 9, 1998 Published at 11:58 GMT


Tyson plays Mr Nice Guy

Tyson and Botha strike a familiar pose

Former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson will make his ring comeback against South African Francois Botha next month.

The pair will meet in a 12-round contest at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on January 16, Tyson's first fight since regaining his licence following the infamous ear-biting incident during his title bout against Evander Holyfield in June last year.

He will return to action despite facing the possibility of a prison sentence after allegedly assaulting two motorists after a car accident in Maryland four months ago.

Tyson could be jailed for breaching a parole order made in 1995 after he had served three years for a rape offence.

[ image: Tyson's teeth left a big impression on Holyfield]
Tyson's teeth left a big impression on Holyfield
The 32-year-old was on his best behaviour at a press conference to announce the Botha fight.

He said: "Let's all be nice to this guy today. For anyone who didn't know, I'm on parole and I'm trying to be nice up here."

But Tyson had no doubt about the outcome of the contest, adding: "You guys know what I do. I know no-one believes that he is going to beat me."

Tyson first became heavyweight champion as a 20-year-old in 1986 and is eager to get back into the title picture.

"The fact is, if the price is right I'll fight a lion. I'm not here because I've been voted the nicest guy in the country."

Botha is not renowned as a big puncher but formerly held the IBF heavyweight belt and insists he has no intention of being used a stepping stone by Tyson.

"He's in for a rude awakening, that's all I can say. I come to fight, I don't come to lay down, and that's what I intend to do," he said.

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